India’s Renewable Workforce has Grown 5-Fold Since 2015: Report

A new report by CEEW has revealed that India’s renewable energy workforce has grown five-fold in the past five years to over 100,000 workers in 2019.

India's Renewable Workforce

A new report has revealed that India’s renewable energy workforce has grown five-fold in the past five years. In 2019, nearly 100,000 workers are employed in the solar and wind industry in the country, up from 19,800 workers in 2014. Of these, 12,400 new workers were employed in FY19 and 30,000 new workers were employed in FY18 by utility-scale solar, rooftop solar, and wind energy projects.

The findings were released in a new report ‘Powering Jobs Growth with Green Energy’ by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), and the Skill Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ).

Rapid capacity addition in the country’s renewable sectors has been the primary drivers behind the growth, according to the report. Achieving India’s renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022 has the potential to create employment for over 330,000 workers in the wind and solar sectors – at least 230,000 additional workers between now and 2022.

Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, said, “India lies at the centre of the ongoing global energy transition and its successful renewable energy programme is inspiring and enabling similar low-carbon transitions across other emerging economies. In the last two years, the capacity addition in India’s renewable energy sector outweighed additions in thermal power. While India deepens its renewable energy markets to ensure that the employment potential is met, it would also need to increase focus on creating a skilled workforce and designing quality training programmes.”

The analysis found that 45,000 workers could be employed in solar module manufacturing in India as part of the 100 GW solar target. However, policy certainty, government support, and lowering the cost of finance will be key to sustaining the growth of India’s renewable energy markets, and in turn the renewable energy workforce.

Renewable jobs growth also slowed in 2019 because of a 20% decline in capacity additions in the solar and wind market. The new Goods and Services Tax (GST), the imposition of the safeguard duty, payment delays by power distribution companies, lack of finance, and infrastructure constraints were key reasons behind the slowdown.

It further highlighted that installing rooftop solar and other decentralised renewable energy technologies created significantly more employment than utility-scale solar and wind energy sectors. Nearly 39,000 workers were employed for just 3.8 GW of total cumulative installed rooftop solar until FY19. In comparison, close to 38,000 workers were employed for 26.2 GW of utility-scale solar and over 23,000 workers were employed for 35.6 GW of total cumulative wind energy installed.

Adding that emerging renewable energy technologies such as floating solar, wind-solar hybrid projects, solar photovoltaic plants with battery energy storage systems, and agro-photovoltaics such as solar pumps, could create additional employment opportunities in the coming years.

Recently, we’ve also reported that according to the first annual jobs census by Power for All, measuring employment from decentralised renewables for rural electrification in Africa and Asia has estimated that by 2023 the sector will create 400,000 jobs in India – including 190,000 direct, formal jobs – almost double the current number, as well as 210,000 direct, informal jobs.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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